New August A. Busch Shooting Range in Defiance hosts over 44,000 visitors during its first year

News from the region
Saint Louis
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DEFIANCE, Mo.—The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) August A. Busch Shooting Range opened to the public at the end of October last year. Looking at the new range’s attendance numbers reveals that a total of 44,419 people visited the range during its first year of operation.

The new Busch Shooting Range is the result of a complete and extensive redesign and was built from the ground up utilizing best practices in safety, convenience and environmental considerations for modern shooting ranges. It opened to the public on Oct. 28, 2017.

The new shooting range features a 20 position 100-yard shooting range, and a 15 position 50-yard range for rifle and pistol use.   Shotgun shooters can appreciate five trap/skeet overlay ranges with electronic controls, and two shotgun patterning ranges. The new range includes archery facilities on site, including a static archery range with an elevated shooting tower and broadhead range. The new education building at the shooting range offers an 80-person classroom to host onsite educational programs.

Breaking down attendance numbers offers additional insight into the range’s use. According to Busch Range Outdoor Education Center Manager Bryant Hertel, the most popular activity at the range is rifle and pistol shooting.   30,927 shooters used the rifle/pistol ranges during the range’s inaugural year. Of those, visitor survey results indicate rifle shooting was the largest use, followed by handguns. A smaller percentage of muzzleloaders were also represented.

The shooting range experienced a surge of first-time users in the months leading up to the November portion of the 2018 Firearms Deer Season. “With deer season, we saw a lot of new shooters who had not visited the range since we reopened,” Hertel said.

A large number of shotgun shooters made use of the new facility, too, noted Hertel, with a total of 11,289 taking to the trap and skeet fields. Among shotgun shooters, trap was the most popular use, followed closely by skeet. However, user surveys show some visitors also took advantage of the patterning boards.

Another 2,200 people attended the range through its educational programs or other special uses.

“All and all, it was a good first year. Thanks to all our visitors for making use of the new range,” said Hertel. “We have a great facility with a very bright future.”

Usage fees for the range are three dollars per hour or round of trap or skeet and includes paper targets or 25 clay targets and basic ear protection. The new range’s hours of operation are:

Sept. 1—March 31

  • Wednesday – Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

April 1—Aug. 31

  • Wednesday and Friday – Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The shooting range is located at 3550 Route D in Defiance, approximately five miles west of Highway 94. Shooters can keep informed about range happenings by texting “MDC Busch” to 468311 and signing up for text alerts. Or call 636-300-0258.